The court therefore ruled that Ibori be extradited to the United Kingdom to face charges of money laundering, credit card fraud and official theft. UK authorities have successfully prosecuted Ibori’s sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori, and his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo (nee Onuigbo) on those charges. Both women are serving jail terms in a UK prison.
Ibori’s wife, Theresa Nkoyo, and one of his UK-based lawyers, Bhadresh Gohil are also currently facing trial in a London courtroom. A legal analyst familiar with the evidence against them told Saharareporters that they are likely to be convicted and sentenced to jail terms as well.
A source close to Ibori said that the former governor was distraught by the verdict as some of his friends in Dubai had promised him that they could reach the judge and get him a favorable ruling. “I can assure you that Chief Ibori will ask his lawyers to file an appeal before the appellate court in the UAE,” said the source.
Mr. Ibori has 30 days to file for and receive an appellate decision.
Ibori’s associates in Nigeria had been preparing for a victorious outcome for him. In fact, several sources close to him revealed that he had ordered the renovation of his country home in Oghara, Delta State, for what he envisaged as a triumphant return. Instead, as one UK prosecutor put it this morning, “the day of reckoning for this fugitive in a UK court is near at hand.”
Last week, Turai Yar’adua, the wife of former Nigerian ruler Umaru Yar’adua reportedly visited Mr. Ibori in Dubai. Former Governor Ibori was a close associate and confidante of Mr. Yar’adua who died last May. One source said Turai Yar’adua’s visit to Ibori was to express her gratitude for all Ibori did to sustain her late husband in power. Mrs. Yar’adua had earlier traveled to Saudi Arabia to mark the end of her mourning period and to perform the lesser hajj-(Umrah), according to a source close to her.